- Common names: Chilli
- Indian names: Hindi: Mirch मिर्च and Kannada: Kharpudi
- Botanical Name: Capsicum annuam
- Varieties: bhut jolokia, bell pepper, tabasco pepper, piri-piri, green chilli and red chilli
- Design Ideas: Chilli is suitable to be grown in hedges, containers, etc.
Chilli is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, and members of the Solanaceae family. There are many varieties of chilli plants, some of which are the hottest peppers known. They can be herbaceous or shrub-like but are branching with green-brown stems and simple oval leaves. The plants produces flowers with five petals, usually white in colour. They are found mostly in Britain, Australia, South Africa, India and other Asian countries.
- Life-Cycle: Annual and perennial
- Height: 20 to 39 inches
- Width/Spread: 1-3 feet
- Flowering season: early summer
- Flower: Chilli flowers occur singly or in small groups of two to three flowers varying in colours and size.
- Foliage: Has thin stem growth with thin, foliated leaves and grows in hedges that makes it quite attractive.
- Sunlight: full sun- around 6-8 hours of direct exposure to sunlight.
Chilli plants can be grown indoors with proper sunlight and suitable watering, which will also make it look appealing as an indoor plant.
- Water: moderately- whenever the top one-inch of the soil feels dry.
- Sowing season: late winter to spring.
- Sowing method: Sowing chilli seeds in a greenhouse requires warmth and a long period of time to fruit. They need an optimum germination temperature between 27°C-32°C and loam-based soil or compost for good drainage.
Care: Chilli plants should never be overwatered as the leaves may turn yellow indicating suffocation from soggy soil and they may shrivel up and die if left unchecked. They should be kept in small pots and a general compost should be used for good drainage.
Pests: Chillies suffer from a variety of pests and diseases that may include greenfly, potato blight, thrips, blossom end rot and botrytis. They may affect the lush growth of the plants and lead to the decrement in the health of the plant.
Harvest: Chillies can be harvested green or left to ripen on the plant. The ripened colour will depend on the variety grown and can be red, yellow, orange or black. If they are left in the plant until they are ripened, the chillies will have a better sweeter flavour.
By seeds: Chilli seeds can be planted into small pots and firmed down to the soil by using compost and soaked thoroughly. The seeds require good space between them so that their roots are not harmed when they will be potted. If the soil is poor, it can be fertilized keeping in mind that chillies like potassium as too much can soften the leaves with no fruit production.